Plov was invented in the 4th century BC by Alexander the Great who instructed his cooks to prepare a light but filling rice dish for his army with what was on hand. 

They used lamb and sometimes a bit of chili in addition to the staples.

They did a great job! It carried on to our date and we are still enjoying this amazing dish with such simple ingredients.



  • 2 pounds of long grain parboiled rice
  • 2 pounds of lamb ( leg, shoulder, shank, any cuts but not too many bones)
  • 2 pounds of carrots
  • 280 ml avocado oil, or vegetable oil
  • 4 medium onions
  • 2 medium dry chilies
  • 2 whole garlic bulbs
  • 1 tablespoon dry barberries
  • 1.5 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • Salt


    Step One.

    Rinse the rice with cold water until the water runs clear.

    Step Two.

    Cut the lamb into 2-inch cubes. Peel the onion, cut it in half, and slice. Peel the carrots and julienne into 1/6 Inch sticks.Peel the outer shell of garlic, but do not break it into cloves. Leave whole.

    Step Three.

    In a heavy bottom 8-quart pot, on medium-high heat, heat the oil until it starts smoking. A Dutch oven or cast iron pot works great.

    Step Four.

    Preparation of the base for plov “Zirvak”. Add the onions to oil and cook for 5-7 minutes. Cook stirring until deep golden brown. Make sure they don’t burn.

    Step Five.

    Add the lamb to the onions. Cook stirring from time to time until the lamb is browned. It might take about 10-15 minutes.

    Step Six.

    Add the carrot to the mixture. Cook without stirring for 3 minutes. Then mix everything well and cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Step Seven.

    Lightly grind coriander and cumin seeds in a mortar and add to Zirvak along with barberries.Season with salt to taste. You can add a bit of extra salt, rice will absorb the extra salt.

    Step Eight.

    Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 7-10 minutes until carrots are tender. Add to Zirvak boiling water about 0.7 of Inch. Add chilies. Reduce the heat to simmer and simmer for 1 hour.

    Step Nine.

    Rince the rice one more time, drain well. Add the rice on top of Zirvak with an even layer. Put the heat on high and gently add boiling water to the rice so the water covers 1 Inch above the rice. ( you can pour water over a spatula so it doesn’t disturb the rice).

    Step Ten.

    As only the rice absorbs the water, take the garlic bulbs and gently press them into the rice, about halfway. Cover the plov and cook on simmer for 30 minutes, until the rice is cooked. After cooking is done, let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

    You can try to mix the plov in the pot it was made. But the easier way you can dump the whole thing into a large bowl. Remove the meat, garlic, and chilies. Mix rice well, so it’s coated evenly with all the goodies. Serve rice topped with meat, garlic, and chilies.

    The best garnish for plov is a simple tomato and onion salad. Slice tomatoes and onions, season with salt and pepper. You can add herbs such as cilantro, spring onions to the salad.

    Good luck making this ancient, delicious Uzbek Plov!

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